Microsoft managed to drop a monster game release on the world this August in the form of Microsoft Flight Simulator. The latest installment of a franchise dating all the way back to 1982, Microsoft Flight Simulator delivers state-of-the-art visuals and the most realistic portrayal of flight ever seen in a consumer product. While you could play and have a good time with just a keyboard and mouse, you’ll need some dedicated controller hardware to get the most immersive experience. We’ve taken the time to round up all the best peripherals for Microsoft Flight Simulator so you can get to enjoy the friendly skies as soon as possible.
The best flight sticks for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
These flight sticks will get you zipping around the globe in no time. The more affordable models use a joystick-only configuration while some packages bundle separate throttle hardware for increased immersion and control.
Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick
This is your best bet if shopping for a low-cost joystick. It features 12 programmable buttons and an 8-way hat switch. While it is mostly made of plastic, the base is sturdy and weighty enough to remain stable on your desk.
Logitech X52 H.O.T.A.S.
Players looking to step up their experience should give a look to the X52 flight system from Logitech. It can be programmed to execute up to 105 commands and features a backlit LCD display to show important information. The stick itself has spring-assisted feedback for faster centering and increased durability. The included throttle controller has an adjustable resistance so you can dial in the perfect feel.
Logitech X52 Professional H.O.T.A.S.
The Professional version of the X52 flight stick system is largely similar to the base model but is constructed out of metal components for more durability and premium feel. The LCD display also gets an upgrade and the entire package gets more realistic adornments.
Logitech X56 H.O.T.A.S.
The big daddy of Logitech’s flight stick lineup, the X56 gets RGB lighting support, 189 programmable controls, and twin throttles. While you could argue that it might be a bit overkill for a civilian flight simulator, it would sure come in handy for all the popular space flight action and sim games, as well as demanding VR titles.
Thrustmaster T. Flight Hotas 4
While it was originally released for Ace Combat 7, this Thrustmaster setup works well for all games on PC and PS4 that support sticks. It has everything integrated into a single chassis (the throttle is detachable) for simplicity and is one of the more affordable choices on the market.
Thrustmaster TCA Officer Pack Airbus Edition
Commercial jetliner aficionados are sure to love the new Airbus-licensed controller from Thrustmaster. This stick and throttle combo are ergonomic replicas of the hardware found in the Airbus A320, one of the featured aircraft in Microsoft Flight Simulator. It also comes with realistic detents designed for civilian flight operation and owners can add on a second throttle control for a total of four thrust levers, just like the real thing. Designed specifically for Microsoft Flight Simulator, this controller will be recognized automatically by the game and configured to fly out of the box.
Thrustmaster USB Joystick
If a no-frills stick is all you need, this Thrustmaster will do the job without breaking the bank. While it lacks the countless programmable buttons of its more expensive competitors, it does offer a quality stick with thumb-operated throttle control and weighted base.
Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS
Those looking for a premium build with the highest precision should take a long look at the T.16000M FCS stick. It also comes with adjustable buttons to allow for ambidextrous use. Additionally, it supports a wide range of add-on hardware, including a throttle, rudder pedals, displays, and more. This way, you can outfit your desk or cockpit with just the parts you need.
VKB Gladiator NXT
This premium flight stick offers everything you need to hit the skies in style. It can serve as the centerpiece of a custom VKB setup as all the components are modular in nature. It comes with multiple programmable buttons and RGB lights built-in.
The best yoke controllers for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
Many of the aircraft in Microsoft Flight simulator feature flight yokes instead of sticks for input and these USB recreations can help elevate your experience to a new level.
Honeycomb Aeronautical Alpha Yoke and Switch Panel
This flight yoke setup is likely the cream of the crop when it comes to consumer-class controllers that normal folks can afford. It has 180 degrees of rotation and 13 programmable buttons. The yoke itself has no center detent or deadzone for a premium feel. The company also offers desk mounting hardware, as well as a Quad Throttle Pack add-on to further add to the immersion.
Logitech Flight Yoke System with Throttle Quadrant
In addition to its flight stick lineup, Logitech offers a USB yoke setup. This package also includes a 4-lever throttle attachment and has up to 75 programmable buttons. One of the most exciting features is the ability to build out your own virtual cockpit with a range of add-ons. Logitech has a Flight Switch Panel with multiple programmable controls, a Radio Panel Controller for ATC nuts, and Rudder Pedal Kit for enhanced control. If that weren’t enough Logitech also offers a LCD Multi-Instrument Controller capable of displaying multiple aircraft instrument dials and readouts. If you have the space and the cash, your computer desk can become indistinguishable from a real cockpit.
Once you get your flight sim hardware installed and configured, you’ll be ready to hit the skies and earn your wings. Be sure to check out our Microsoft Flight Simulator Hub for all the latest guides, news, and other coverage so you can get the most out of your experience.